The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 7 Review

By Melody McCune

The Mandalorian returns this week with its strongest episode of the season. The penultimate outing, “Chapter 23: The Spies,” is an action-packed thrill ride brimming with Star Wars Easter eggs, glorious fight sequences, and immersive visuals. There’s even a smattering of comedy, along with some galactic drama and the highly anticipated return of Moff Gideon™. Giancarlo Esposito is as formidable as ever, even in his brief time onscreen. He cuts an imposing figure.

While this season has been somewhat bumpy, this episode delivers payoff on the narrative front, especially regarding the Elia Kane™/Coruscant™ storyline. We have foolproof evidence the Empire is making a comeback, Thrawn™ is now in the picture (well, more like off to the side for now), and cloning re-enters the conversation.

Reporting to the Big Boss

We open on Coruscant, with Elia Kane stalking the darkened city streets in the rain. After sneaking into an abandoned alley, she chats with none other than Moff Gideon. She reveals the pirate siege failed miserably on Nevarro™. Greef Karga™ had help from the Mandalorians™, namely Din Djarin™ and Bo-Katan Kryze™.

This confirms that Gideon sanctioned that attack. After learning that Din and Bo-Katan are causing trouble, Gideon orders Elia to continue doing her job while he puts the Mandalorians to bed.

Shadow Council Hijinks

Next, Gideon meets with the Shadow Council™, featuring an Imperial remnant of warlords who survived the fall of the Empire. Fun fact: Commandant Brendol Hux™ is General Armitage Hux’s™ father from the sequel trilogy. Another fun fact: Brendol is played by Brian Gleeson, the brother of Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux). I’m also assuming that “Brendol” is a nod to the Gleeson brothers’ father, Brendan Gleeson. Fun facts are fun!

Anyway, this session drops exciting Star Wars Easter eggs galore, including Project Necromancer™, which hints at the inevitable resurrection of Emperor Palpatine™, plus the mention of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Gideon has no idea where he is. This name drop ties in with Ahsoka, especially since Ahsoka Tano™ is hunting Thrawn. Captain Gilad Pellaeon™ is an avid Thrawn supporter. He was introduced in Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire™, which Ahsoka will undoubtedly follow. So, who knows? We might see Pellaeon there, too.

Gideon asks for reinforcements to obliterate the Mandalorians before they overtake Mandalore™. Nothing will stop the Empire — there are still Imperial loyalists in the far reaches of the galaxy. This opening sequence is a geek’s dream.

Return to Nevarro

Later, we see the citizens of Nevarro rebuilding after Gorian Shard’s™ attack. High Magistrate Greef Karga’s droid informs him they’re under attack from Imperial forces, but actually it’s the Mandalorians. Bo-Katan’s army has arrived, y’all.

Now, the two warring Mandalorian factions stand opposite each other — the helmetless and the helmeted. Paz Vizsla™ and Axe Woves™ have a staring contest. The Armorer™ orders her clan to prepare a sumptuous feast for the new arrivals. Greef Karga embraces his pal Mando and gifts him some expensive-looking alcohol. Oh, and he has a present for Grogu™!

“Bad baby. No squeezie!”

Greef takes Din and Grogu back to his office. We see IG-11™ emerge like a mechanical phoenix rising from the ashes. IG-11 plods awkwardly into the room. An Anzellan™ controls it. Greef refers to IG-11 as IG-12™. Grogu makes a beeline for IG-12 while the Anzellan hopes Grogu doesn’t squeeze him again.

Initially, Din expresses concern regarding Grogu’s size. Maybe he’s too small to control a robot. After some convincing on Greef’s part, Din allows Grogu to sit inside IG-12. He can not only control the droid, but he can communicate via buttons for “Yes” and “No.”

Grogu Hits the Streets

Din still doesn’t believe Grogu’s battle-ready, which warrants a “No” from our fave little green guy. Grogu instantly morphs into a toddler in his “Why, why, why” phase by responding with “No” to everything Din says. It’s hilarious and probably the first time I’ve laughed out loud from watching this show. Grogu eventually switches to “Yes,” and incessantly hits that switch while he and Din walk through the city streets. They’ve never been more father and son than in this episode.

After Grogu attempts to rob a merchant of his fresh food and beverages (Din of course pays the alien for their troubles), the pair returns to the Mandalorian encampment.

“I will go.” 

Later, Bo-Katan rallies the separate clans to join her on a trip to Mandalore. While most of the Mandalorians will orbit the planet, Bo-Katan will lead a small search party to ensure Mandalore is safe. Din and Grogu volunteer, obviously, as do The Armorer, Axe Woves, Paz Vizsla, and Koska Reeves™, among others. Everybody’s going. When the party lands on Mandalore, they begin searching for anything out of the ordinary while en route to the Great Forge™. The landscape looks stunning here.


Din, Bo-Katan, and the others encounter a group of Mandalorian survivors who arrive on what looks like a Star Wars-ified pirate ship. That night, our search party provides food for the survivors, and they all have dinner together. Bo-Katan confesses a bombshell to the group: She surrendered to Moff Gideon. She met with Gideon after their forces were annihilated during the Night of a Thousand Tears™ amid the Great Purge of Mandalore™. Bo-Katan would’ve had to submit to the Empire in exchange for sparing the Mandalorians and their remaining cities.

She obliged and even came to possess the Darksaber™. Unfortunately, Gideon betrayed her, and everyone died anyway. Poor Bo-Katan. She tried. After dinner, Bo-Katan wonders if she can unite the separate (and very different) factions to breathe life back into Mandalore. Din gives her a pep talk and swears his sword to her. What a good cheerleader.

To the Forge

The Armorer takes the wounded survivors back to the ships in orbit while Bo-Katan, Din, and the others prepare to continue their journey to the Great Forge. Thankfully, the survivors know where it is. Meanwhile, Axe and Paz square off in a heated game of space chess, culminating in a physical brawl. Finally, Grogu steps in with IG-12, saying, “No. No. No. No.” His interference keeps the two fighters at bay. Din is a proud dad.

Insert a musical montage featuring the theme song! We see The Armorer arriving at the Mandalorian fleet circling above the planet. Din and the others ride their pirate ship to the Great Forge. Suddenly, a massive sea monster destroys the boat, and everyone jumps to safety. They scramble into the depths of the planet, away from the danger. We see them wandering into the famed Great Forge.


While everyone explores the Great Forge, a host of intruders descend upon the unsuspecting Mandalorians. They’re Moff Gideon’s new Dark Troopers™, and they’re armored in beskar™ alloy. Uh-oh. Axe Woves flies away to get help while the rest ward off the troopers with their weaponry. It’s the battle of the century.

Our Mandalorians wander into what looks like an Imperial ship. The Dark Troopers separate Din from the rest, much to Grogu’s dismay. Gideon lands before the restrained Din, clad in black beskar alloy similar to his troopers. Reunited, and it feels so good, right?

A Sacrifice

Gideon orders his troopers to take Din away for questioning. Then, he demands his forces take out the Mandalorians and bomb the planet to oblivion. Bo-Katan utilizes the Darksaber to create an escape route. Everyone sneaks through the hole she made except Paz Vizsla, who stays to fight off the Dark Troopers. After the group escapes to safety, Bo-Katan urges Paz to fall back. However, he plans to sacrifice himself for his buddies. Reluctantly, Bo-Katan sneaks away while Paz takes on the enemies.

When Paz thinks he’s out of the woods and the Dark Troopers are dead, the Praetorian Guard™ emerges, weapons at the ready. We last saw the Praetorian Guard in Star Wars: The Last Jedi™. They were Supreme Leader Snoke’s™ protectors. Unfortunately, Paz is outnumbered and ultimately meets his demise. He goes out like a badass, though. RIP.

“Chapter 23: The Spies” feels like a mini movie from beginning to end. It scratches that nerdy sci-fi itch and lays the groundwork for next week’s season finale. I hope Din and Grogu reunite by the end of the episode. This outing continues diving into the dynamic between Din and Bo-Katan and the bond between Din and Grogu.

Throughout season 3, The Mandalorian has broadened its narrative scope beyond Din and Grogu. However, the brief focus on them and the instances wherein Din protects Grogu reminds us that their relationship is the crux of the series. It’s the gooey center.

Do you think the gang will save Din from whatever Moff Gideon has planned for him? Will we see Thrawn in the season finale? Can the Mandalorians retake Mandalore officially? Join the conversation alongside other Star Wars fans in our Let Your Spoiler Sideshow: Star Wars Facebook Group, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!